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The Kharaa River Basin has some of the highest densities of population, agricultural and industrial activities in Mongolia. This puts the naturally limited water resources under pressure in both a quantitative and qualitative perspective. Besides mining, key sources of surface water contamination include large numbers of livestock in riverine floodplains and the discharge of untreated or poorly treated waste waters, both into rivers and by soil infiltration. Since both shallow groundwater and river water are used by people and for livestock, there are at least theoretical risks related to the transmission of water-borne pathogens. Only a very limited number of studies on water and hygiene have so far been conducted in Mongolia, all indicating (potential) risks to water users. However, a lack of current and reliable water microbiology data leads to the need of systematic screening of water hygiene in order to derive conclusions for public health and drinking water management at the local and regional scale.

About the Authors

D. Karthe
Department Aquatic Ecosystem Analysis and Management, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research; German-Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology

UFZ, Magdeburg;

Associate Professor for Environmental Engineering,


K. Westpha
Department Aquatic Ecosystem Analysis and Management, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
UFZ, Magdeburg


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